A/N: Ok my beloved readers, sorry for the delay, but to compensate for that, I gave you guys a really long chapter!
Please review. If you don't, I will sit and cry :( You don't want that to happen, do you?
Thanks to my beta, Jacky-cullen. She's truly a darling!
Visitors From the Past
I skipped down the spiral staircase when I heard my name being called. I usually didn't skip anywhere, let alone down the stairs since I was incredibly accident-prone. But I could hear the undertone of happiness in Mom's voice when she shouted, "Bella, we have a visitor!"
When I entered the living room I froze. I could feel the world turning upside down.
"Bells, I hope you haven't forgotten Uncle James already," Mom said cheerfully.
He was standing there smirking at me.
Come here, little girl. Don't you want Uncle James to love you. Hmm?
"Oh my god, Bella! You have grown up so much. How old was she when I last saw her, Renee?" He asked, his expression a mixture of pleasure and surprise.
There little girl, just hold it like this. That's right.
"Bella? Bella!" Mom was calling me.
"Huh, what?" I just realized that she was talking to me. "I'm sorry, Mom. Did you say something?"
"Yes, honey. Uncle James is talking to you and you're not answering him. Are you okay, honey?"
"Uh-yes. I-I'm okay," I stammered.
"You look pale dear, is there something wrong?" Mom rushed over to me and placed her hand on my shoulder.
"Nothing mom, I just need to get some rest. I'm kind of light-headed."
"Okay, baby. James, can you sit here while I take Bella upstairs -"
"No, Mom. That won't be necessary. I can make it on my own."
"Guess I'll see you at dinner then, Bella" James said, smiling.
I forced myself not to faint or fall down as I trudged back upstairs to my room. A wave of nausea was hitting me hard and carrying me away with its force but I struggled against it with all my might.
Now, you can't tell Mommy about this, right? Because then she will know that you have been a really bad girl.
Uncle James had stayed for dinner and Mom was overjoyed. She hadn't seen her brother for years as he had been living in the east coast ever since she had married Phil and had never come for a visit. I didn't pay attention to the food or my surroundings or to their conversations. I nodded and smiled at the right times and then left right after dinner saying that I was still feeling dizzy.
The entire time there was a weird buzzing sound in my head and all the memories that I had tried repressing so hard for all these years came rushing to the surface.
I didn't know exactly what happened after I had gone into my room. I remember a feeling of numbness washing over me, and then a searing pain on my wrists, and then blood, and then Renee screaming and Emmett carrying me, and then an ambulance. I couldn't recall huge chunks of my time that night. Perhaps I passed out several times or possibly fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up on a hospital bed and I groaned when it dawned on me that another appointment with Carlisle would be due soon as I realized I had cut myself the night before. This time the cutting was a little bit serious since it could have almost killed me.
I saw Alice opening the door out of the corner of my eyes. She pulled up a chair next to me and then placed her arm across my shoulders.
"How are you feeling now, Bella?"
"Now tell me, what exactly happened last night?"
"I don't remember. I was in my room sitting for like several hours and then something just came over me. I couldn't feel anything. I was just numb. I felt like I didn't exist." I was shaking violently and I felt Alice tighten her grip on my shoulders.
"I had to do something," I continued. "I had to feel, to know that I was there, to ground myself. The next thing I knew I was digging through my bathroom cabinet and then I found - I found a razor. And then I guess I slit my wrists with it, but I didn't really mean to do it. But feeling the pain really made me believe that I –I was there. That my body belonged to me." My body was trembling so hard by this time that I was afraid I was going to break into pieces.
"Ok, Bella. It's okay. You don't have to say anything more. Just lie down and get some rest, alright?" She said as she kissed me on the cheek.
I obliged by placing my head on the uncomfortable pillow.
"Where's everyone else?" I asked her.
"Renee was here all night and so she went home to get some sleep. Emmett is still here but now that you're out of danger he decided to go to work soon."
I nodded. "How long are you gonna be here?"
"I'll be here until class starts, which is in the afternoon. But I definitely won't leave you alone, Bella. Either Rose, Em or Renee will be here with you."
"Thanks Alice, it really means a lot to me," I told her, smiling weakly.
"No problem, Bella."
The room was silent for the next few minutes until she spoke again.
"So tell me," she said, grinning mischievously. "How's that superfuckhot tutor of yours doing?"
I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming emotion of guilt and embarrassment. Since I hadn't known that Edward was related to her, I had told her how I felt for him. How just the mere sight of him made my knees go weak. How an accidental brush of his fingers on my skin shot an electric current throughout my entire body. How I wanted those fingers to touch every single part of my body. How his deep green eyes made me feel lost and incoherent. How his crooked smile made me almost come in my pants.
After talking to Edward that morning, I had never told Alice that my tutor was nobody else but her brother; it would be too embarrassing to admit to her that my biggest sexual fantasy was her sibling. I would rather have Edward tell her, and I was a bit surprised that he hadn't told her yet or that she hadn't figured it out by that point.
"He's fine. How's Jazz?" I asked her, trying to change the topic.
"Oh he's doing great," she replied, her face immediately lighting up. "I'm actually meeting him right after class tonight. Oh yes, I forgot, he asked me to let him know how you were doing."
We spent some time making small talk about nothing in particular until Alice got a call from her boyfriend, Jasper.
"Sorry Bells, I've got to take this call," she said to me, looking apologetic. I waved my hand at her in a dismissive gesture and then she strode out of the room after softly closing the door behind her.
I just got out of a long and relaxing shower when I heard my cell buzz. I checked the caller ID to see that it was Emmett.
"Hey, what's up man?"
"Edward, listen. Just wanted to tell you that my wedding got moved ahead."
"Really, why?" I was going to be the best man at Emmett and Rosalie's wedding, which was supposed to happen five months from now.
"Well, Rose's dad is scheduled to have bypass surgery, and he wants our wedding to take place before his operation. You know, in case he doesn't make it during surgery, then he won't miss his only daughter's wedding."
"So we're having it three weeks from now." Emmett sighed.
"Wow. That's really early. I'll have to call Alice about getting me a suit. Even though I'm sure she'll be disappointed about not getting 'enough' time to find a dress for herself."
Emmett chuckled. "Your sister is hilarious. It's her brother's friend's wedding for Christ's sake, but they way she acts makes it seem like it's her own."
I laughed but stopped when I noticed that although Emmett tried to sound like he was in a light mood, he seemed to be hiding something.
"Em, is something wrong?"
"Uh – no. Nothing's wrong," he said, laughing nervously.
"Em, I know you, there is something wrong, just tell me," I said in an admonishing tone.
He sighed. "Ok, fine. I'm in the hospital right now."
"What! What happened to you? Are you okay?" I panicked. My best friend had been injured several times over the years that I had known him since he was an avid athlete, but never seriously enough to land him in the hospital.
"I'm fine, dude. Well, actually it's Bella who's here. It's nothing serious though. Last night, she just accidentally fell over a glass table and cut her arm..." I didn't hear anything that came out of Emmett's mouth after that as my head was spinning so fast I thought it would fall off my head any moment. I couldn't feel anything. I think I forgot to breathe.
"Edward! Edward, are you still there?"
"Huh? Oh yeah, Em. Sorry, what were you saying?"
"I just said that you don't have to worry about her. She's doing fine now."
"Oh, that's – that's good. Em, which hospital did you say you took her to?"
"Forks Community. Room 302."
"I'll be there in 10," I said before hanging up.
Somehow, I managed to put some clothes on, grab my keys and then make it to the driveway. I drove at a speed that was probably three times the limit and I wondered how I made it to the hospital because I sure as hell wasn't paying any attention to the roads. My mind was in a haze the entire time and although Emmett had assured me that she was fine, everything around me was blurry.
Right after entering the hospital, I sprinted up three flights of stairs. I knew my way around the building very well since I visited Carlisle there quite frequently. I stopped in my tracks when I saw a little pixie sitting on one of the cream-colored couches. She smiled brightly as soon as she saw me and then dashed over to where I was.
"How are you, big Bro?" She asked, hugging me tightly. "Dad is very busy now. He's in his chamber right now with one of his patients –"
"I'm not here to see Dad, Alice," I interrupted her.
"Oh." Confusion was etched across her face.
"I'm here to see Bella. I just heard about her accident from Emmett." Confusion on Alice's face was replaced by surprise now. "How do you know her? Oh, sorry that was a dumb question. You obviously know her from Emmett."
I sighed. "Alice, I really don't have time to explain. But yes, I know her from Emmett. I've actually been tutoring her for two months now."
Realization seemed to dawn on her, along with something else that I couldn't understand. However, I had no time to analyze her reaction and with a quick "later" I headed off in the direction of Room 302.
I opened the door to find a nurse attending to a very pale-looking Bella, who was lying down, her brown hair sprawled all over the white pillow underneath.
She turned her head towards the doorway and when her eyes met mine her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree.
"Hey, Edward." she greeted me, grinning.
"Bella," I said between heavy breaths, still panting from running up all those stairs.
"How are you feeling now?" I asked, sitting down next to her.
"I'm fine. Much better" she said, smiling shyly.
"How did this happen, Bella?"
"Well I had an-an accident. I fell and my hand fell right through the glass on a table."
I sighed inwardly. Not only was she a terrible liar, but also if she had actually had an accident, her wrists wouldn't have been the only part affected and so cleanly cut.
"Bella," I said as I slowly took a seat next to her. "I know you didn't fall over a glass table."
She dropped her head and my gaze shifted to her hands, which seemed to be trembling a bit. I lightly grazed my fingers over hers and immediately felt a tiny electric shock.
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. But you can always trust me. I won't judge you and I won't tell anyone else," I told her, my voice barely above a whisper.
She turned her face in the other direction and kept quiet. For I don't know long, the only sounds in the room were those of our breathing.
"I did it myself," she spoke after what seemed like centuries. "And it's not for the first time."
"Why do you that?"
"I don't know. I just can't take it anymore and then I –I don't feel anything. I feel like I don't possess my body anymore." She was still looking in the other direction as she spoke. "The feeling of pain brings me back. It gets rid of the numbness. The nothingness."
"Do you know why it happens?"
She didn't reply; she continued to stare in the direction opposite to me.
"Why did it happen last night?"
I realized that she was crying and I quickly wrapped my arms around her. "It's okay, Bella, you don't have to tell me," I said, trying to comfort her, my cheek pressed against her hair that still smelled like strawberries and freesias despite her condition.
It took her a few minutes to calm down, and then I sat down next to her again.
"Edward, can you please lock the door?"
"Why, Bella?" I asked her, puzzled.
"Because I want to talk to you in private."
I merely obliged and returned to my seat. Bella sat there for a really long time not saying anything and I was about to tell her that she could save this conversation for later when she broke the silence.
"I have never said these things to anyone besides my therapists. But for some reason, I feel that I can tell you about this," she spoke softly.
I nodded and gestured for her to go on.
"My parents were divorced when I was three years old. After moving out of my dad's house, my mom realized that she had nowhere to go. Both of her parents had died a while ago and the only family she had was her brother who was then in college. She was unemployed and poor. My dad didn't have a lot of money either and so she didn't get much out of her divorce. So she decided to move in an apartment with her younger brother and started working at two full-time jobs to make ends meet.
Since she was away basically the whole day, and in order to save money, she let her brother, Uncle James, baby-sit me instead of putting me in a day care. Uncle James was very friendly; he used to play all kinds of games with me and take me out to the zoo and the parks, etc. He used to buy me all kinds of nice toys and clothes.
I don't remember exactly when this started happening. It was so long ago and my memories from those days are fuzzy to say the least. But one day, when I got home from school and he was there, he told me that he would make me my favorite ice cream if I did something for him. The next thing I knew we were in the kitchen and he had his pants down. While he was making ice cream he told me to hold his-his appendage-" her face was twisted with disgust and horror and she tried to bite back a sob, "- and so I-I touched it. Then he showed me that I had to wrap my hands around it and then rub it up and down. I just did as he told me. Somehow I knew that what he was making me do was wrong but I kept on doing it." She was breathing very rapidly and I rubbed her back in small circles in an attempt to sooth her pain and horror. "From then on, almost every time he had a chance to be alone with me, he would do something - like squeeze my butt or brush against my underwear. One day he even asked me to-to lick him." Bella was shaking violently and I tightly wrapped my arms around her although what I wanted to do was hunt that motherfucker down and tear him apart. "He continued to molest me for several years, and I always felt like I was so filthy. I always thought it was my fault." She broke down at this point and I held her firmly against my chest.
"It was never your fault, Bella. You know that right?" I said softly, trying to control the rage inside me.
"I understood that later when I was a bit more grown up," she spoke, after her uncontrollable sobs had died down a little. "A year after Renee started dating Phil, she and I moved in with him. Shortly afterwards, James moved to the east coast for his new job. He hadn't visited in all these years, until yes-yesterday."
I gently pushed her away from me to look at her face. "Is that why you ended up here?" I was seething with so much fury by now that a red haze seemed to envelop me.
"Well," she said, looking down, "I guess I was really shocked and upset when he showed up. I couldn't take it anymore and then I started feeling all numb and then …" she trailed off.
"Bella, why didn't you tell Renee about this?"
"I can never tell her what happened, Edward. She really loves her brother and she trusted him with me. She won't be able to take this. She will be so devastated she'll probably end up in the hospital."
"Bella, you've got to tell your family about him. I would personally want to dismember him but at least the police should know and arrest him. You can't let that motherfucker get away with this," I spoke through clenched teeth.
Just at that moment, somebody knocked on the door. I reluctantly let Bella go and opened to find a nurse waiting.
"Excuse me, but can you please not lock the door again?" She barked out.
I was generally a polite person but at that moment I couldn't take it any more. I simply glared at her and returned to my seat next to Bella.
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